Sunday, October 29, 2006

How to Do Your Taxes, in Ten Short Months

All dates are approximate. Please consult your tax professional for advice specific to your situation.

January 3 -- Now that Christmas is over, mentally move on to the next season -- tax season! Start watching contents of the mailbox with renewed interest.

January 12 -- Receive e-mail from HR reminding you that your organization switched payroll providers in 2005, thus you will receive two W-2s, one from each provider.

January 14 -- Receive first W-2, from old payroll provider. Dance around the house, singing "It's the most wonderful time of the year" because you love, love, love doing your taxes. Chastise self for being a big dork. Eagerly await the arrival of all other tax preparation materials. Take comfort in knowing they're due to you by February 1.

January 16 -- Check mailbox. Empty. Damn federal holiday.

January 18 -- Get e-mail from HR notifying you that the old payroll provider screwed up the W-2s and will be sending new ones shortly. Curse the old payroll provider.

January 20 -- Check mailbox. Empty.

January 21 -- Check mailbox. Empty. Jerks.

January 23 -- Check mailbox. Empty. Curse all payroll bastards everywhere.

January 24 to February 10 -- Receive requisite W-2s, bank statements, etc, including paperwork from your investment crap that you didn't know you'd need.

February 18 -- Receive incomprehensible letter from the IRS. Assume that if you were being audited, that little tidbit would've been clear from the letter. Right? RIGHT???

February 11 -- Debate doing your taxes the complicated way or the un-complicated way. Take a preliminary stab at doing things the un-complicated way.

February 20 -- Attempt to do your taxes. Notice you're missing a few pieces of information, but assume they're in the mail on their way to you. Practice being patient. (Ha. Ha ha.) Mock up your taxes the complicated way and the uncomplicated way. Discover, much to your surprise, that the complicated way is more lucrative, but requires even more information you don't have. Assume this info is also in transit.

March 22 -- Realize Tax Day is fast approaching and you haven't made any progress in a month. For the first time ever, break down and purchase TurboTax. Weep softly at the prospect of not using a #2 pencil and some notebook paper to prepare your taxes. Console self with the knowledge that $75 for computer software is a better investment than hiring a tax attorney when you are invariably audited.

March 23 -- Attempt to do your taxes. Realize you're missing crucial information from the state, and, no, it hasn't magically arrived in your mailbox yet.

March 23 to April 8 -- Think about how you should really call the state to get that information you need. Decide you'll do it tomorrow.

April 9 -- Finally call state government to request this information. Be dismayed when the customer service rep tells you she can drop it in the mail to you, but there's no way to e-mail or fax you the information. Begrudgingly accept mailed documents.

April 12 -- Resign self to the fact that you'll be filing for an extension. File nifty little federal extension form, as provided by TurboTax software. Praise the TurboTax geniuses. Have panic attack when it occurs to you that you'll need to file a state extension, as well. Does the state even permit extensions??? Where's the form for that? Realize state wants you to pay them NOW, despite the extension. Do some rudimentary calculations and send state $400 along with extension form.

April 21 -- Documents arrive. Hooray!

April 22 -- Attempt to do taxes. Realize you only have half the info from the state that you need. Curse the lady you spoke to on the phone, and yourself for not double-checking with her what info was being sent.

May 11 -- Call someone else at the state in search of your information. Be impressed that his voice mail says he'll get back to you within 24 hours.

May 12 -- No phone call. Well, ok, maybe Monday.

May 15 -- No phone call. Bastard.

May 16 to September 24 -- Proceed with crazy busy life, go on vacation, volunteer on a campaign, resume crazy busy life.

September 25 -- Have mild panic attack when you realize it's nearly October and can't remember if the extension allows you to file by October 1 or October 15. Decide it would behoove you to just get them done by the first.

September 26 -- Knowing this is your last opportunity to get those taxes done before you go out of town, strong-arm self into actually getting them done. "You are not getting up from this chair until your taxes are finished, young lady! Do you hear me?" Prepare taxes. Note that final figures look an awful lot like the mock-up you did in February. File taxes electronically, mostly. Praise the inventors of internet banking. Curse TurboTax when it tells you you'll have to log in within the next 24-48 hours to finish the final step required for electronic filing.

September 27 -- Leave town for a conference. While on lunch break, log in to TurboTax to complete final step.

September 28 to October 5 -- Check bank account compulsively to see if refund has been deposited yet. Sure, it took you nine months to actually file those tax forms, but that doesn't stop you from being hopelessly impatient.

October 6 -- Federal refund deposited. Give a little cheer. Then, immediately put the money to a ridiculously fiscally responsible use. When friend suggests you could spend half for fun and put half to responsible use, admit that option hadn't even occurred to you. Finally understand just how disturbed you are.

October 10 -- State refund deposited. Cringe at the fact that half of the refund was the $400 you sent them back in April. Transfer funds back to savings, from whence they came.

October 15 -- Realize next year's taxes are due in only six more months!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Love Thursday: Multimedia Extravaganza Edition

Wondering what I've been up to all week? Things that obviously didn't include posting here, huh? Yes, me too. Hours upon hours of photo importing, editing, resizing, blah, blah, blah, so I could present to you a lovely movie-slideshow-thingy of my weekend in Yosemite.

Your superior powers of observation have probably already noted that nothing of the sort appears here.

Instead, please make do with a lovely shot of my recently-purchased-
but-already-well-worn hiking boots, which may have ousted my running shoes from their previous spot as Kate's Favorite Shoes, Nah Nah. Meanwhile, I will attempt for the jillionth time to get Apple Quicktime to SAVE THE FREAKING AUDIO TRACK WITH THE MOVIE!!! If I wanted a silent presentation, I could have just used Flickr! Or Adobe! Or Slide! Or the software that came with my camera! But! I! Don't! I WANT MUSIC, DAMMIT, which is why I spent real cash money to procure you, stupid software, now do what you promised me you'd do!!!!! Perhaps speaking gently to it will help, because calling it a stupid little bitch didn't do the trick.*

See other Love Thursday entries.

*If anyone has any expertise or tips, please save me. I'm using Quicktime 7 Pro on a PC.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Makin' a List, Checkin' It Twice, Gonna Find Out Who's Naughty and -- Oh Wait, Wrong Season

This weekend's destination is Yosemite -- someplace I've intended to go since moving to California. I'm leaving at the perfectly respectable time of 8 a.m. EDT, but I thought I'd give y'all something to do while I'm away (and something for me to think about on my drive through the Central Valley).

So, here's your assignment: help me craft a list of things to do before I die have children turn thirty. Lately I've been focusing on places to go while I'm located out West, but don't let that limit you. There are LOTS of things I've not done, and probably more things that I've never even thought of, so let's hear your suggestions.

I'm anal enough to actually keep a list, and cross things off once they've been completed, so keep adding as you think of new ideas. This is your chance to boss me around -- take full advantage!

  • Eat dinner at a real restaurant, all by myself
  • Ski. Like, real skiing, not Wisconsin used-to-be-a-landfill skiing.
  • Go to Disneyland
  • Hike Mount Shasta
  • Go hiking in Lake Tahoe
  • Visit friends in Portland
  • Run a half marathon
  • Go to Seattle
  • Go to a movie alone
  • Go to Canada -- Vancouver?
  • Vacation in Hawaii
  • Visit Yosemite

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Love Thursday: Fall Edition

Strangely enough, I love fall. And even better, I get to re-discover that every year. I mean, I'm a warm weather, spend-all-summer-
at-the-beach kind of girl. I can't wear shorts until it's at least 85, otherwise I'll be too cold. I don't even mind DC's glorious 90% humidity!

And so, each year when the air turns a little cooler and the wind is a little crisper and the leaves start to make rustling noises, I am suprised by how much it pleases me.

Fall brings with it all manner of wonderful things -- football season and pots of hearty soup and wool skirts and suits in brown tweed. But the thing I look forward to the most is pulling on a pair of boots while getting dressed in the morning.

Despite what the calendar said weeks ago, TODAY was officially the first day of fall in my world.

The Beloved Red Boots

See other Love Thursday entries.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Thrill of Victory...

You ever have one of those days where the world just flat-out wins? Delivers a knock-out punch in round 8? Rattles off 10 points in the last two minutes on the clock to put the game out of reach, and then seals the deal with a three-pointer at the buzzer? That was yesterday, when I was the first one in the parking lot and, fifteen hours later, the last one to leave. When I finally arrived home, I had the mental acuity of an intoxicated chimpanzee. I had to talk myself through the steps of turning the car off, removing the keys from the ignition, opening the car door, getting out, retrieving my purse, and locking the doors before I stumbled up to the house and into bed.

As it turns out, yesterday might have been a draw.

This morning I managed to get up, put together an outfit and head to the gym at a reasonable hour. Getting in the car, I was somewhat amazed that I was on track for the day, considering how roughly yesterday ended. I did a quick mental check to ensure that I had everything I needed. Hair dryer, check. Make-up, check. Shoes, nylons, proper undergarments. Check, check, check. All righty, then.

I arrived at the gym, glorious caffeine surging through my system, ready to get those happy endorphins flowing. I pulled my gym bag and shower crap out of the backseat, tossed my purse in the trunk, and only then did it occur to me that I was, in fact, missing a component of my outfit. Namely, the suit portion of the outfit. The suit that was sitting on my bed right next to the packed gym bag that I grabbed on my way out the door. Awesome.

So, that's my day today. 7:00 a.m. and the world has already won. Tonight, I'm going to try actually being drunk instead of the pseudo-drunkenness of last night. Pray for me tomorrow morning.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

If You Exhibit Acts of Supreme Dorkage in a Forest, but No One Is There to Witness Them, Does it Make You a Dork?

Auburn State Recreational Area -- hundreds of miles of trails, but not a single map or park ranger to consult!


Never hike alone. Don't go running alone. In fact, don't go anywhere alone ever again, or a mountain lion will eat you!!!


It's not really fall yet in the valley, but it is up here.


Can anyone identify this tree?


I parked at the bottom of the valley, on the banks of the lake, which meant that I had to walk up to the trailhead -- 1.4 miles, all uphill. It put the "hill" setting on the eliptical trainer to shame!


Leaving the park, I noticed the parking lot just past the turn-in that would've been less than a quarter of a mile walk to the trailhead. Downhill. Awesome.


And then there was the time when, hearing a biker approaching from behind, I started to move out of the way. Then he spoke to me and I nearly jumped out of my skin.


Um, if there's someone there to witness it? Yeah, you're a dork.


See all the day's pictures here.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Love Thursday: The Very Serious Edition

I read a post last week that is the embodiment of one of my biggest fears. It shook me then, and it's still rattling around in my brain, so I guess I need to write about it. Lucky you.

The details don't matter much, so here's the gist: husband and wife have stressful weekend, get in fight over who gets to do what he/she wants and who gets shafted. She's angry that he shut down instead of talking about it. He accuses her of not knowing when to stop. She throws something at him, misses and breaks a window instead. They scuffle, yell, trade "I wish I'd never met you" sorts of words. They take a break for a few hours, life goes on.

...get in fight over who gets to do what they want and who gets shafted.

I read this entry with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I have had this fight on a number of occasions. Over stupid stuff, over important stuff, you name it.

...he shut down instead of talking about it.

I read this entry with my heart pounding in my chest, the adrenaline clearly kicking in, because I have sooooo been there. A lot.

She throws something at him...

I read this entry, nodding my head in agreement, because I have wanted, so desperately wanted to throw something at someone in the middle of one of these encounters, but it's a move that is ever-so-much more effective in person than on the phone. But there were MANY TIMES that it was a tough call. In my mind's eye, I could see the phone slicing through the air, in slow motion, about to hit the floor with a sharp crack, preferably with pieces flying in several directions.

I read this entry and noticed my inner turmoil -- relief that I'm not the only one who finds herself in these situations and reacts this way, coupled with the disheartening knowledge that it will happen. Again. To me, to others.

I know exactly how she felt. I know it would eat at me, too. The frustration of not getting the support you want/need/deserve from a partner? Been there. In a match-up of my needs vs. your needs, sometimes there really is no compromise position. The refusal to discuss the issue? Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. (Also, the hour-long discussion of the issue that resolves exactly nothing? Oooh, boy, been there, done that, wrote the freaking book on it.) The seeming hopelessness of the situation is tough to bear.

A lot of relationships wouldn't make it past this kind of fight. A lot of relationships shouldn't make it past this kind of fight. And even the ones that do, how can they not harbor a little kernel of doubt that maybe it should have ended? And -- oh god – how do you handle this when you're already married to the person and ending the relationship isn't as viable an option as when you're just dating? (I believe, in my mental ramblings, that this is where I started shaking.) What then?

I think this is when you reach down, and find the best, most forgiving part of you and look for the best, most redeeming quality about him, and you take a lot of deep breaths, and you move forward. goes on.

And this, then, is love.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Random Tidbit

In the words of Dave Barry, I am not making this up. But somebody else clearly is.

October 12 is International Moment of Frustration Scream Day -- To share any or all of our frustrations, all citizens of the world will go outdoors at twelve hundred hours Greenwich time and scream for thirty seconds. We will all feel better, or Earth will go off its orbit.

I can think of any number of reasons to observe this, uh, holiday, not least of which is to prevent the Earth from spinning wildly out of control. How 'bout you?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


It was rainy and cold for a few days last week. And by "cold" I mean "the insolent weather refused to reach 70 degrees for the high."

And I was peeved.

There are certain California Things that I find creeping into my life. I think or do these California Things without being fully aware of them. Like how fresh avocado makes everything taste better. Or being miffed that October had the audacity to bring with it temps in the sixties. As if! Yeah, I know it's fall and all, but it shouldn't be that cold until November, at least!

The weather when I was back East was a big change for me. I was baffled by the cloud cover -- there were days I didn't need my sunglasses! And it rained! Not just watering-the-grass sort of rain, but honest-to-goodness storms with thunder that woke me from a deep sleep and lightening that crackled, the likes of which I haven't experienced since moving to California.

But even more telling than my inability to comprehend conditions with greater than 30% relative humidity, is how I dress. I have lots of stylish, attractive black/gray/navy clothes, and I wear them often. But I also wear colors, real colors. In addition to the color palette, I aim to be a bit more "edgy" on the days I don't have to be Conservative Professional Suit-Wearer.

Never was this difference more apparent than when I walked down the streets of DC, surrounded by a sea of people in drab business attire, me wearing crisp white pants, a bright pink screen-printed t-shirt* and an olive blazer. Despite the compliments I received, it was definitely a "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" moment. I almost felt guilty, walking through the building, like my clothes were too loud, too colorful, too happy for the serious business at hand.

Eighteen months here and I kvetch about the "cold" weather (while deep down being happy that it actually felt like fall for a few days) and I wear bright colors, even for somber occasions like work. They're subtle changes, and not likely to hurt anyone, but they're changes nonetheless. Changes I hadn't counted on. I mean, soon I'll think that California can rightfully dictate national environmental policy! But the silver lining is that I am comfortable, happy even, out here. I don't look forward to touching down at the Sacramento airport with the same anticipation I do landing at O'Hare or National, but it is familiar and I take comfort in that.

*I own, like, six t-shirts that don't get worn to the gym. This one was purchased specifically for this outfit.

Obviously this picture was not intended to showcase my outfit. The corresponding dialog was something like, "No, really, I'm sure the camera works just fine, no need to take a test shot of *blinding flash*" But, hey -- check out those perfectly shaped eyebrows! You don't achieve results like that naturally.

Monday, October 09, 2006

If Only Prince Charming Would Trade His Stupid Horse for a Gulfstream, This Could All Be Over a Lot Sooner

Dear Creepy Guy at the Bar the Other Night:

Didn't your mother teach you to mind your own business? If we were interested in sharing our conversation with you, we would have made eye contact, perhaps even introduced ourselves, and asked you to join in. You staring at us and then oh-so-smoothly asking, "So, what are you talking about?" isn't exactly an invitation.

Also, asking us where we live does not say "I'm interested in getting to know more about you" so much as "I'm a stalker and perhaps an axe murderer; get a restraining order now." Just a little tip for the next time you're out on the prowl.

I understand that sitting alone at the bar can be a somewhat awkward experience and you have to find some form of entertainment. However, allow me to submit that that's why there are big-screen TVs with baseball on, viewable from every square inch of this place. And don't forget about the alcohol.

Now, please hush up and drink your beer.



Dear sexysacguy:


I have to admit, I had no idea who you were when I saw your e-mail in my in-box. But, I like to live dangerously, so I opened it. Ohhhh, right. You. And here I thought it was spam.

I would have thought that our one meeting, a year ago, which I ended rather abruptly, followed by never hearing from me again would have indicated my level of interest, but occasionally I'm wrong. Guess this is one of those times. So, to answer your question, no, I'm not still at this e-mail address.

Thank you for reminding me how much I hate meeting new people, hate dating new people, and really hate avoiding new people I'm not going to date. How you knew I was on the verge of getting back in the game, I know not, but this refresher course was greatly appreciated.



PS -- There's no point in using a cute little moniker like "sexysacguy" if you're going to then give out your business phone number, Mortgage Broker Chris.

Dear Walter,

Thank you for a lovely meal last night. You sure know how to make a girl feel special -- don't think I didn't notice that I was the only patron whose napkin you arranged on their lap for them!

However, I just don't think it's going to work out. I'll be the first to admit that short, stocky Italian men with thick accents aren't my first choice, but I might be willing to overlook that in your case. Rather, I think that the three hour drive and your only being available on Mondays would put a crimp in our relationship. I hope you understand.

Please don't hate me for completely ignoring your suggested wine. I promise to recommend your restaurant to all my friends. Best of luck with the ladies.



PS -- The blond waitress? I think you could have her. Give it a shot.

PPS -- Please find a discrete way to tell your associate that nothing cheapens a nice suit like crappy alterations.

Dear Creepy Guy on the Plane Last Week:

I know we've already had some fun at your expense, but I can't help adding a little advice.

Do not tell a woman she doesn't need make-up. Ever. Unless you have personally hosed her down and taken a Dove Cleansing Cloth to her face.

Sure, it sounds flattering, but it IS DECIDEDLY NOT. She is probably wearing make-up. She is probably wearing more make-up than you would ever guess. She is probably toting sixteen pounds of make-up and seven make-up brushes in her checked luggage (because there's no way in hell all that stuff will fit in a single 1-quart ziploc bag, eff you, TSA) and likely spends upwards of twenty minutes doing her face on a daily basis. All to achieve that "naturally beautiful" look.

To say that she doesn't need make-up, thereby rendering those thousands of minutes and hundreds of dollars worth of implements unnecessary, borders on insulting.

Also, as someone who aspires to make a fortune selling health and beauty products on the web, good business sense dictates that you ought not go telling women they don't need make-up. Think about it.



Dear Universe,

Enough already! I think you've managed to fill my 4th quarter quota for creepy guys and we're only ten days in! What did I do to deserve this??? (Don't answer that.)

Kudos on your technique, though -- I believe this method of keeping me away from the opposite sex is more effective than a chastity belt. Much more annoying, but better results. Damn you.

Please be nice to me. I'll be good, I promise.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Love Thursday: Hollywood Edition

As a testament to how much I love you guys, please know that in my cooking frenzy tonight I attempted to slice my finger clean off. And yet, here I am typing away with the nine remaining digits. My poor finger. It might benefit from stiches, but I don't really know since I opted not to look at it, instead slapping a band-aid on immediately and pulling it so tightly that my fingertip is throbbing and turning blue, which is really too bad since I was thinking I'd paint my nails tonight. Um, negative. (That'll teach me to wash the knife off after cutting raw meat, so as to avoid spreading the pork equivalent of salmonella to the vegetables. Damn hygiene.)


While in LA last weekend, I was exposed to a wondrous, new experience. My eyes were opened in ways I never dreamed possible. It was incredible. And this new-found cultural event came in the form of VH1's Flavor of Love.

For the uninitiated, Flavor of Love is one of those ubiquitous reality TV shows that is nothing more than a Bachelor knock-off. There's a guy and a bunch of psycho girls who make "a connection" with him and he gets to eliminate one of them every week until he's left with his one true love. (Usually by week three, I'd like to eliminate them all. But that doesn't generate enough ad revenue for the networks, so it drags on for nine or ten more weeks.)

The guy in question on Flavor of Love is none other than Flavor Flav.* Danielle explained it thus:

D: You know who Flavor Flav is, right?
D: Apparently he used to be part of Public Enemy.
Me: Ummm, heard of them. That's about it.
D: He wears a clock around his neck as a permanent accessory.
Me: Wow. Ok, well, I'll take your word for it.

I should also take this opportunity to remind you that I am quite possibly the whitest white girl ever. I'm lucky I've heard of Public Enemy. Actually identifying any of their music would have frightened me.

So. My man Flav is -- of his own free will -- living in a house with a dozen psycho-bitch-hos. (I am not exaggerating. These girls are AWFUL, in so many ways.) While I am sure there are people who genuinely want to know which girl wins Flav's heart, I watched it purely for the cultural experience it provides. By which I mean, how many catfights, trainwrecks and bleeped-out f-bombs can one episode contain?

There are many fascinating aspects to this show. The first one being, Flav? Is not a pretty man. And he's gotta be twice the age of the average contestant. What, exactly, compels these women to compete for him and his clock is beyond me.

Next is the fact that Mr. Flavor Flav gives each girl a nickname, which she is called for the duration of the season. A sample: Buckeey, Nibblz, Krazy, Deelishis, and, my personal favorite, Payshyntz.

Mmmm-hmmmm. I think that's supposed to be "Patience," but I wouldn't put money on it.

You would think that watching several episodes of Flavor of Love, my ghettospeak would have improved. But no. VH1, in a move that I find disturbing for its apparent unwillingness to keep up with MTV's low standards, bleeps out A LOT of words. I'm good at swearing. I can usually fill in the bleeps. But when these ladies get going and all hell breaks loose, I'm lucky to catch eight non-bleeped words and fill in a dozen bleeps, which still only leaves me with about 10% of the conversation and a lackluster ghetto vocabulary.

This show, however, has standards. I mean, Flav is looking for someone who's real, genuine, who feels him, who really wants to be with him (as he tells the girls). He even sends packing a girl who, it is exposed, "does porn." (To be fair, it was the lying that bothered him, not the fact that she did/does porn. Me, I was just verklempt by the expression "does porn." I guess I always refer to it as "being a porn star." C'mon, brag a little!)

Apparently the honesty standard extends to Flav's conversations with the girls' parents. To those who inquire about his intentions, he says he's looking for someone to "kick it with" for a while. Isn't that what everyone wants for their little girl? For her to kick it with a guy who perpetually wears a clock around his neck? Yeah, New York's mama wasn't too impressed with that response, and, in the manner of psycho bitches everywhere, attempted to guilt her daughter into leaving by telling her she had a mysterious illness and didn't have much time left. What is it? Oh, it's rare. So rare they don't even have a name for it yet.


You've really got to see it to believe it, so check it out (VH1, 10:00 pm EDT, Sundays). We're down to the final two ladies, so this week is the behind-the-scenes/season re-cap, and the finale will be next weekend! Wheeeeeeee! I hope Flav finds what he's looking for, because I'm not sure I can afford to hemorrhage brain cells like this for another season. These bitches drive me nuts. But I laugh my ass off.

AND! In other non-ghetto, non-porn-doing news (and if that's inaccurate, please, y'all, don't tell me), Steve is in a real, live play at a real, live theatre with a real, live advertising budget. A play that's even been written up in a real, live arts magazine. So, if you're in the Chicago area in the next six weeks, go support the arts. And Steve.

(Click here or e-mail me for tickets.)

*This is the VH1 spelling of Flav's name. Urban Dictionary lists it as "Flava Flav." I prefer the latter, but will defer to the experts at VH1.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Project Run Away

Know what we haven't done in a while? A fashion round-up. This particular tour through the wonderful world of fashion is inspired by the creepy guy who sat next to me on my flight from LAX Sunday night. It was bad enough that he started talking to the woman in the aisle seat the moment he sat down, but at least that left me free to read my InStyle magazine in relative peace. Buuuuut, no. Once he tired of the aisle-seat-woman, he turned his attention to me. And my magazine. Which left me no convenient means of escape.

So, in the words of Heidi Klum, let's start the show! (All pictures courtesy of InStyle magazine.)

Did you know Creepy Guy likes animal print? Because he does. And he highly recommends it for me. Maybe something like this.

Uhhhh, no. For one, I'm not enamored with animal print, and honestly, the colors don't look that great on me. Secondly, the cape? Not a chance. My outerwear suggestions include shearling, cashmere and wool.

Creepy Guy commented that this piece looks like something you would buy at Goodwill.

Or from Chanel for $4000. You know, either way.

Creepy Guy liked these. He also thought they would look good on me.

*Reaching for conveniently-located barf bag.*

Creepy Guy thought I would enjoy these.

While the silhouette is good, they are made of vinyl and glitter. VINYL AND GLITTER. Just say no, people, just say no.

Try these or these:

Creepy Guy also enjoyed these boots, which I object to on the basis of their JLo brand. (I actually own something similar, so I can't object too much to the style.) He also informed me that men invented high heels.

Wow, that just blows my mind. Next you're going to tell me that the reason men like heels is because they make women's legs and derrieres look good. Amazing!

If you're looking for something on-trend, I recommend these.

And had he liked these, I may have been compelled to beat him senseless with my beloved InStyle.

In addition to Creepy Guy looking at my magazine, making comments/asking questions/generally being INSANELY FREAKING ANNOYING, he was a walking infomercial for some business venture he's involved in. Blah blah, e-commerce, residual income, blah. If you have any desire to start an on-line retail store and make gobs and gobs of money, let me know and I'll hook you up. Be sure to pair the animal print cape with the JLo boots for your first business meeting -- you'll be a hit.

What are you lusting after for fall? Any advice to offer to shoppers this season? Or poor unsuspecting airline passengers who just want to READ THEIR MAGAZINE FOR PETE'S SAKE PLEASE STFU???